Unique, affordable gift ideas for the holiday season

Unique, affordable gift ideas for the holiday season

Colleen Kelly

The holidays are upon us, and broke college student life is never more apparent than when you’re trying to balance your usual bills with holiday shopping. Not everybody has the time or skill set to make DIY gifts, but that doesn’t mean you have to stress over breaking the bank to make your loved ones happy. Here are a few out of the box gift ideas for $25 or less, most of which you can order hassle-free online. 

 1. Beard Grooming Kit

Winter is notoriously beard season, so surprise a man in your life with some beard care supplies. You can find these kits on Amazon.com for cheap, most including special combs, detanglers, beard balm or tonics to make facial hair softer. It’s practical and a tongue in cheek gift for them to open Christmas morning. 

Price: $15-$25

2. Coffee Supplies

Skip the standard Starbucks gift card for coffee lovers and check out what PT’s coffee has to offer. Their website offers a custom sampler of four four-ounce bags of coffee sure to spice up anyone’s morning routine. Their website and physical shop on College Hill also offer mugs, pour-over systems, french presses and unique apparel. It’s a sure fire way to either please a coffee connoisseur or expand a friend’s palette. 

Price: $25

3. Ipsy Subscription

For the make-up fanatics in your life, check out Ipsy.com, a monthly make-up subscription service customized to the person’s hair, eyes, skin and personal style. Users get five high quality, personalized products (cruelty free is an option) in a unique, new make-up bag each month. You can subscribe for as many months in advance as you like and it’s easy to cancel, making the service flexible to your budget and stress free. At only $10 a month with free shipping, it’s a steal. 

Price: $10 per month

4. Themed Pack

Get creative and combine multiple smaller gifts to make a themed pack. This could be a few $5 DVDs from Target, new pj pants and a pack of mud masks. Another option is a personalized mix CD and new ear buds. For a sentimental gift, try printing off memorable or funny photos from the person’s Instagram or Facebook and attaching them to a photo clip mobile for an updated take on scrapbooking. For nerdier friends, pick up a Funko Pop! Vinyl figure of their favorite character in pop culture and a wallet, beanie, or mug to match. Pick a theme and run with it, they will love all of the personal touches. 

Price: $10-$20

5. Table Top Games

It doesn’t matter how old you are, game nights are always a blast with friends. Go classic and pick up Candyland, Sorry, Monopoly or Clue. If you want something new, some of the hottest table top games today include Gloom, Tokaido, Bloodborne, The Grizzled, The Resistance or Oregon Trail. Whichever route you go, your gift is guaranteeing your friend hours of fun when Netflix isn’t cutting it. Depending on the game, ToysRUs and Amazon have the best deals on the market.

Price: $10-$25

6. Quirky Accessories

Whether you’re shopping for men or women, check out Etsy.com’s independent merchants for unique accessories for any occassion. You can find knit ties/bow ties, wooden cuff links, raw gem stone jewelry, leather bracelets, and enamel pins you can’t in a department store. Casual or formal, polished or edgy, an Etsy shop exists to fit your needs. No matter what their style, an interesting accessory is a fun surpise they can get a lot of use from. 

Price: $10-$15

7. Google Cardboard

Virtual reality is now accessible to the masses. This kit allows users to construct their very own VR system with just their smartphones, some cardboard, a pair of lenses and a little velcro. Download the free Cardboard app to view youtube videos, play compatible games and take interactive tours of Google Earth. Usually VR systems run anywhere from $80-$300, so investing in Google Cardboard is not only guaranteed fun, but the best deal on the market for dipping one’s toes into the VR experience. It’s hours of fun and perfect for being stuck indoors this coming winter. Check out Amazon for the best prices.

Price: $15